Getting Away With Murder

[7] An accused who is found NCR cannot be punished for his or her criminal act. Any post-verdict limitation on the liberty of the person found NCR must be justified on the basis that he or she poses an ongoing danger to the community: R. v. Owen, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 779, at para. 25. That constitutionally mandated precondition to restriction on liberty finds its statutory expression in s. 672.54(a). That section provides that if the Review Board concludes that the NCR accused does not pose “a significant threat to the safety of the public”, the Review Board must order an absolute discharge.

[8] The meaning of the phrase “significant threat to the safety of the public” has been authoritatively set down in Winko v. British Columbia (Forensic Psychiatric Institute), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 625, at paras. 49-62, 69. The phrase refers to a foreseeable and substantial risk of physical or psychological harm to members of the public that is serious and beyond the trivial or annoying. A very small risk of even grave harm will not suffice. A high risk of relatively trivial harm will also not meet the substantial harm standard. While the conduct must be criminal in nature, not all criminal conduct will suffice to establish a substantial risk. There must be a risk that the NCR accused will commit a “serious criminal offence”.

Many may find these guidelines established by law, and the courts, are of little consolation and with little recourse when the review board gets it wrong. And they do get it wrong… some would rightfully say, knowingly get it wrong. Read more

3 thoughts on “Getting Away With Murder”

  1. Who makes the determination that this person is no longer a danger to society? Can they guarantee that this person will remain in care, on medications, and will..never, ever again pose a threat? Will they never have a re-occurrence of an episode? Will they always be under care? Who cares for them for the rest of their lives? Do the conditions of this person’s care & confinement change with the passing of time?
    Who also determines that one “NCR” because of a mental illness or schizophrenia is different than a Clifford Olson or Paul Bernardo who committed obscenities under whatever mental/medical condition they were deemed to have. The state of mind had the same end result…. murder was committed and whether the verdict be incarceration
    in a medical facility or prison, the public needs to know, without a doubt, that these persons are FOREVER incarcerated!! Do all of the above walk in unfenced areas with ‘added security’?
    Can we not look at all these perpetrators in the same vein, in that, their minds were/are not healthy and stable and that they should all be treated similarly in the justice system? The public and, especially, victim’s families & loved ones deserve that! They deserve the government’s utmost attention and assurances in this regard!!

  2. This infuriates me.If the board finds that Li doesn’t pose a significant threat to the public today, he could be released, no questions asked.How does the board determine this,how do they know he poses no threat,thus comes the PHYSCOTIC part.Li is mentally ill and will always pose some sort of danger. What is stopping Li from pretending to be well, just to be released, to maybe try this again.I remember an article saying that just because Li is on meds, doesn’t mean he won’t have another episode, and that this one could be worse.How can it get any worse then what he did? Li has also been on meds before, whiche he stopped taking.I can’t speak for anyone else but, for myself i don’t want him out in public, especially with no record.If Li gets out he can get a job anywhere without anyone knowing what a horrific crime he did. If Li would get a job with children lets say,would you feel safe, I think not.I do believe he needs to be in physc care for the rest of his life, because he does need the help, I also believe that there should be some sort of record on him so the public knows especially when he gets out(hopefully never)if he ever applies for a job.

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